CSKA Moscow goalkeeper Igor
Akinfeev has become the first ambassador of the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia, the local organising committee
announced on Tuesday.
"It's a great honour, being an active player, to be chosen
for this role," the 25-year-old Russia international told a news
conference in Moscow.
"As a Russian I'm really proud that such a major tournament
will be held in our country for the first time. Our people will
show great hospitality and will greet all fans around the world
with open arms."
Akinfeev made his Russia debut in a friendly against Norway
in April 2004 at the age of 18, becoming the third youngest
player to compete for his country. He was later included in
Russia's 23-man squad for Euro 2004 but did not play there.
Four years later, he helped Russia to reach the Euro 2008
semi-finals - the country's best showing in a major championship
in two decades.
However, he was cautious about predicting whether he would
take part in 2018.
"Unlike your personal life, you just can't have long-term
plans in a professional career," said the keeper, who has had
two major operations on his knees in the past four years.
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